61 UK festivals have committed to banning non-biodegradable glitter by 2021, but why wait? From all-over Love Island style body glitter to spangly eye makeup, we’ve got glitz that won’t harm the fish

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Whether you’re going to a festival this year or not, chances are you’d like your makeup to be more environmentally conscious, and global market research company Mintel  reckons that brands that don’t move towards more eco-friendly production methods and values could be missing a trick in these post Blue Planet times. Global Colour Cosmetics Analyst Charlotte Libby explains the eco and economical benefits for companies as well as their clients and the world at large:

“Consumers are drawn to brands that act responsibly. Attempting to reduce the carbon footprint by tackling waste is an area in which colour cosmetics brands can innovate. Alternative materials like bamboo, coconut husk and rice bran have been a growing trend in packaging. As well as appealing to consumers looking for environmentally-friendly products, they have the added benefit of standing out on the shelves where plastic and glass is the norm.”

One area that needs to be tackled urgently in the makeup market in particular is the issue of glitter, as Charlotte highlights:

“Many glitters found in colour cosmetics contain non-biodegradable microplastics. As consumer awareness around the negatives of microplastics grows, glitter in make-up will be subject to more scrutiny.”

Said scrutiny has explicitly come to the fore this summer by way of The Association of Independent Festivals ‘Drastic on Plastic’  campaign, as part of which 61 festivals in the UK have now announced a ban on non-biodegradable glitter that will be fully effectual by 2021. The AIF’s current festival-goer guidelines advocate bio glitter if you must sparkle, alongside other more eco-conscious beauty swaps such as using plastic-free wet wipes, biodegradable, organic cotton buds  and microbead-free toiletries , although a UK-wide microbead ban  has already come into force. Many say that glitter, given that it’s a microplastic that pollutes our seas and harms marine life, is sure to be the next ‘microbeads’ in terms of legislation. That takes the shine off the glitter party somewhat.

Thankfully, as with microbeads, there are already many eco-friendly alternatives out there, and they may even be more comfortable to wear that gritty, itchy plastic. Plant-based cellulose is the typical material used in the making of bio glitter, with eucalyptus trees being a common source, and bio glitter manufacturers Ronald Britton estimate that it’s around 40 per cent softer on skin than the conventional plastic stuff. What’s more, to the naked eye it looks the same, yet it breaks down naturally over time instead of hanging around in our seas, waterways and soils for centuries. Let’s face it, glitter should be here for a good time, not a long time. As such, here are the bio glitter brands, blogs and services to call on when you want to spangle sustainably at a party, festival or just when getting crafty.

Eco Stardust

One of ASOS Face and Body’s new brands for 2018, Eco Stardust is vegan friendly and made from non-GMO eucalyptus trees. The loose bio glitter is available in an array of rainbow shades and ranges from the chunky to the finely milled. The brand also donates 10 per cent of net profits to environmental charities and even has a squad of glitter makeup artists on call for parties, hen dos and festivals.

Buy online from £6

Festival Face

Quite literally doing what it declares on the tin, Festival Face is working flat out to ensure its entire offering becomes biodegradable, but the bio glitter options are clearly marked, despite the fact that they look like the regular stuff, and they’re affordable. They’re fully compostable and made from renewably sourced raw materials yet are as shiny and clean cut as the real deal.

Buy online from £4.50


Best known for flattering body glows, BOD’s glitter range launched this week and is 100 per cent biodegradable. The Mermaid Glitter Gel  is a refreshing alternative to dry glitter and has added aloe vera to take the sting out of hot festival skin, while the the Mermaid Shimmer  combines a 90s style coconut body spray with ‘fish-friendly’ glitter particles for a seamless sheen.

Buy online from £5

Wild Glitter

Wild Glitter came to be after one of those pondering in the shower moments. We all have brain waves in the bathroom, and founder Olivia’s lightbulb moment was seeing all of her plastic body glitter wash down the plughole after a festival, and realising that it was on its way to fresh water. She set about making ethical, vegan, eco-friendly and cruelty-free bio glitter made from plants, not plastic, and Wild Glitter is now seen at weddings, festivals and festivities up and down the land. There are currently five colours to choose from, and the glitter generally degrades over a period of 90 days in water or soil.

Buy online from £2.75

Eco Glitter Fun

Another company expressing its aim in its brand name, Eco Glitter Fun specialises in ‘guilt-free’ glitter and goes to town colour-wise, whether you’re after glitter for your face, body, hair or kid’s birthday party, and you can even get your bio glitter blended to your bespoke requirements. Glitter is also available in a pretty boggling array of cuts, from fine to ‘uber chunky’, and glitter sets come complete with an aloe vera application gel and bamboo brush to buff it on evenly. The glitter washes off easily with soap and water, and the team go so far as to provide a guide to achieving an eco glitter beard. Packaging is linen or made of recyclable material where possible to further reduce plastic waste. Good, clean fun.

Buy online from £4

Bio Glitz

A US brand, I’m not suggesting you shop this unless you’re stateside (those air miles aren’t eco), but sustainable glitter brand Bio Glitz  showcases some seriously creative ways to get arty with environmentally friendly glitter via its Instagram feed and blog, and the ‘rocking glitter in the office’ tutorial is weirdly wearable. One to reference if you’ve bought a stack of bio glitter and aren’t sure what to do with it. On the subject of which…

The pro glitter service

If rolling yourself in bio sequins isn’t working for you, call on the glitterati at London’s Blush+Blow . A face and body bio glitter treatment will customise glitz to your occasion and requirements and there’s a Blush+Boho team who’ll go on the road with their bell tent to bring glitter to fields, festivals and parties from the capital to the Med. It’s proving popular, as makeup artist and Blush+Blow founder Bridget O’Keeffe  explains:

“Glitter has been everywhere the last few years and its popularity isn’t slowing down. We love how diverse it is in terms of the makeup looks that you can create, from subtle hints of sparkle to full on body glitter. We find that lots of our Blush+Boho clients are requesting glitter that accentuates their ‘high points’, so cheeks, shoulders and collar bones are a popular place to sprinkle it. Glitter in braids is also becoming a bit of a given when we create plaits for at festivals.

“The biodegradable glitter that we use will last up to 24 hours, depending on where you are wearing it and how hard you are partying! To remove the glitter, apply a generous amount of body cream and rub it into the area, but not into the skin, and then wipe the glitter away with a warm cloth. There will always be a few stubborn bits left behind (particularly in hair or beards) but for the most part you will be left squeaky clean.”

Soap and water can work just as well, just don’t go using a wet wipe (not just for the environmental implications either). As with “removing” makeup, wipes tend to simply move glitter around your face rather than remove it, irritating skin and just not doing the job on any level. Ditch the wipes and grab a wet flannel or hop in the shower, safe in the knowledge that your glitter won’t be polluting the earth.

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